Today is July 20th, and it’s an important anniversary for many in China.
Thirteen years ago the persecution of Falun Gong was ordered by then CCP leader Jiang Zemin.
[Spokesman for the Falun Dafa Association of Canada, Joel Chipkar]:
John Baird's trip coincides with this 13th anniversary, so we are urging him to publicly call on the Chinese Communist government to stop the persecution and release all Falun Gong practitioners immediately."
Although not widely known outside of China at the time, Falun Gong had made a very big impact inside China. It had grown from a handful of people in 1992 to 70-100 million practitioners by 1999, when the persecution began.
It was a highly unpopular persecution at first. That is, until January 23, 2001. That was the day of the so-called self-immolation event on Tiananmen Square. Five people supposedly lit themselves on fire under the pretense of being Falun Gong practitioners.
One person died at the scene, and a 12 year old girl allegedly died weeks later in hospital. The incident received widespread coverage both inside and outside of China.
A frame by frame analysis of footage released by CCTV, China's state run media, showed a woman being struck by a man in a military overcoat. Liu Chunling died that day. A later investigation by Washington Post reporter Philip Pan found that her neighbours had never seen her practice Falun Gong.
A CNN crew on the square began filming the incident, but they were immediately arrested.
The incident turned public opinion against Falun Gong, and allowed the regime to use wide-spread systematic violence against practitioners that has continued to today. Since that time there has been a steady stream of documented cases of torture, rape, murder, and even the harvesting of organs from Falun Gong practitioners.
It's why Falun Gong practitioners call for governments to publicly condemn the Communist regime for their human rights violations. The regime is willing to hear human rights violations, so long as it happens behind closed doors. But they threaten retaliation for public statements.
It's because public statements spread rapidly inside China, and they threaten the legitimacy of the regime itself. But, Canada's silence on human rights also spreads inside China. But it is spread by the CCP regime, and it's used to bolster their legitimacy.